National programme brings mentoring and support to South Yorkshire teens with new online programme: Prepare for HE

Monday 1st June 2020

The Higher Education Progression Partnership South Yorkshire (HeppSY) has collaborated with online mentoring charity, Brightside, to bring a new online mentoring programme to Year 13 students in South Yorkshire in response to the urgent challenge of Covid-19.

The Prepare for HE programme is being offered to more than 150 Year 13 students that HeppSY is currently working with across South Yorkshire as part of the Office for Students funded Uni Connect programme to help students aged 13-19 who are most at risk of missing out on higher education.

The 150 HeppSY students on the Prepare for HE programme will receive support and guidance as they navigate this unique and complex series of challenges thrown up by Covid-19, following the cancellation of their exams and implications for their university places.

Launching on 1st June, the 16-week programme will support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider applying and then hopefully progressing to higher education and will:

motivate students to apply and retain their university places

increase students’ confidence and excitement about their future university life

deliver trustworthy, organised and personalised support and reassurance

  • Mentees will:

develop their coping skills and be able to deal with setbacks and overcome challenges

build a sense of belonging and feel nurtured

be able to understand and tap into the support networks available to them

increase their understanding of what to expect from university study and life

become empowered to make confident and informed decisions

Mike Garnock-Jones, Hepp Director said:

“It’s an unsettling time for many South Yorkshire students who are considering applying to higher education. This mentoring programme will provide invaluable personalised support for them during this period of uncertainty”

Laura Gray, Chief Executive of Brightside said:

“We know the real sense of anxiety and dislocation which students are facing because of Covid-19. The Brightside:- Prepare for HE national programme has been designed to provide personalised, tailored support to students whose usual sources of information, advice and guidance have been torn up. I am delighted at the huge interest from Brightside mentors to support students in their transition to university, and am excited by the potential of the programme to provide meaningful support for students throughout this unbelievably challenging period”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:

“I know this is a difficult and uncertain time for those who want to go to university this autumn, but no student’s future should be put on hold because of the coronavirus.

“I’m delighted to see the Brightside mentoring programme supporting young people as they transition to university in these unusual circumstances. This help and reassurance will be invaluable to these students empowering them to make the best decisions.”

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive said:

 “We are delighted to be working with Brightside, providing students with expert support from across the UCAS team, as they prepare to start their undergraduate course. Our survey results show that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to have had their higher education preparation adversely affected since the coronavirus outbreak, making programmes such as Prepare for HE even more important for their transition to university.

Relevant and timely information is crucial for anyone applying, and we’re continuing to enhance our advice for the wider applicant community, particularly through the UCAS Hub, to ensure messages are relevant and personalised for students’ individual and diverse circumstance.”